Though it's part of life as we know it, it is hard to wrap our mind around the loss of a loved one. Why? Because we were created to live forever. So death is unnatural. As a result, when we lose a loved one in death, emotional pressure builds and builds and builds. Eventually we begin releasing that emotional pressure through what we know as the grieving process.

However, when a loved one is taken away from us at the hands of another, that grieving process is lengthened. When justice has not been served, it seems perpetual.

However, we can get through it!

Along with crying, a brochure I read said that, "Putting experiences and feelings into words often makes it easier to understand them and to deal with them. And if the listener is another bereaved person who has effectively dealt with his or her own loss, you may be able to glean some practical suggestions on how you can cope."

I appreciate this forum for allowing us to do just that. Here we can express ourselves and support each other from anywhere, at any time to help us get through and to the third stage of grief where we have more pleasant memories of our deceased loved ones.

Yes, at an unexpected moment, you will do, see, smell or hear something that will automatically trigger a memory for you. For me it was a photo of a plate of seafood in a magazine. Yes - you read it right - a picture of seafood. Crazy, huh?!? I'll explain...

A few weeks after my cousin's death, I was looking through a magazine and saw a picture of a plate of seafood and immediately started to cry. When I see a picture now, however, I can't help but chuckle. Why?

Those photos trigger a childhood memory of when my cousin first learned about my seafood allergy during a summer vacation at our grandmother's when I was 7 or 8. At some point he was told that he couldn't come around me with his plate of fish because my eyes would swell up. His 4 or 5 year old mind understood that to mean that my SEEING fish would make my eyes swell. Unbeknownst to me, he wanted to see this "phenomenon." So he searched ALL of the magazines around our grandmother's house for pictures of fish. When he found one, he sneakily showed me the picture. Then he said, "look at me." Then he ran away. This happened 4 or 5 times before I eventually asked what he was doing. When he told me what and why, I busted up laughing. When I explained that it would NEVER happen from looking at a picture, we both busted up laughing.

When I learned of his death ands the circumstances surrounding it, my mind was so overwhelmed by the why's, the "if only's," the desire for justice, and the effect of it on everyone - that I couldn't think about anything else in relation to him. I'd forgotten all about that summer.

But seeing that picture triggered that memory. The first time I remembered it was very sad for me, as all I kept thinking was how he and I would not be able to laugh about it -or anything else- again. Having gone through the various stages of the grieving process, when I see a picture now, I still have that thought of loss. But now I can dwell more on the memory, and it affects me as it did before his death - I enjoy a good laugh!

That can and will happen for you too. When it does, share it with me. I'd love to hear about it...


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